I wrote a post on day 40 which mentioned that if anyone would have said to us before we left the UK that we would still be at the clinic after 40 days, then I wouldn’t have believed them…well here we are at day 60! Sixty is the sum of a pair of twin primes (29 + 31), as well as signifying a diamond wedding anniversary, is the international dialling code for Malaysia and believe it or not, the highest obtainable level on World of Warcraft (apparently). As well as being day 60, it was Valentine’s day and also the day everything changed and Jenny took back control of this disease.
As mentioned in yesterday’s blog we made the decision to revert back to the IV base dose of morphine and stop the oral medication last night – what a difference that decision has made. Fast forward 24 hours and whilst it is early days, Jenny is starting to be herself again. She slept well last night with minimal pain and distress, meaning I got a half decent nights sleep as well. So how did she fare today…
This morning she managed to get up and wash with a little help and started to drink quite a few energy drinks – it is as if she is a different person physically and also mentally, as the morphine level she is now at is a constant and therefore doesn’t seem to invoke confusion in the same way. I’ve seen a gradual downward trend in Jenny’s health over the last 4-5 days (a little bit each day) and it’s only when she comes out the other side so quickly that you realise how difficult and what a low ebb she must have been at. We spoke today and she told me she had started to “taste” the morphine which must be an indication of the size of the dose she was having as well as starting to think she wasn’t going to come out the other side of this – in other words she thought at some points she may die. We’ve had some difficult times like this over the last 4 years and I wasn’t quite as concerned this time, as I have been in the past, as all her vital signs were within acceptable boundaries, but I was wondering how much more she could take mentally, due to the constant pain.
I’m sure sometimes our blog doesn’t convey the lowest or most difficult times with a tone that represents the severity of some of the situations we have been in over the last 8 weeks. I suppose that’s part-design, part-reflective as I tend to write about things after the event and once things have calmed down. This last week has been hard and I know Jenny was close to breaking point on a few occasions. I’ve always been more concerned with Jenny’s mental and emotional state of mind during this treatment, than I have of her physical condition as I’m a believer that once your mind cracks, it’s very difficult to reign it back in. However, whilst she didn’t crack (but was close) she has managed once again to pull the situation around and put herself firmly back in the driving seat.
Within 15 minutes of the syringe driver being restarted last night, she was asleep and relaxed. Over the last week she has been exhibiting increasingly frequent noises during periods of sleep which I can only assume are pain related. Assuming this is right then I can use it as an indicator as to the level of pain she is experiencing at any one time when asleep, and last night I didn’t hear a peep out of her.
Jenny decided to pass on lunch today and recharge her batteries in order to make it down to dinner this evening. She had a foot massage with Max mid-afternoon and also requested that physiotherapy commences again tomorrow on her neck and shoulders. Whilst Jenny had a rest this afternoon, I met with Cathy, Dick & Arthur at a local B&B/Cafe which is well-known for its cakes. It is called Cafe IRA and on Tuesdays and Sundays it opens its doors to serve afternoon tea, coffee and cake. It also seems to be where most people around here congregate as it was packed out. This felt a little strange as for the last 2 months everywhere has seemed quiet and bustle-free. The cake display is something else and the size of the pieces served are quiet ridiculous – I couldn’t finish mine!
We all had an enjoyable hour before Cathy & Dick had to return to the clinic for an appointment. Arthur & I stayed on for another drink and he very kindly paid the bill (probably out of the profit he made from organising the distribution of the bill at the meal on Sunday evening – I jest of course!). This was a lovely gesture especially when you consider he is a former stockbroker and southerner! Many thanks Arthur, Jenny and I are going to miss you both once you leave.
As it was Arthur & Hilary’s last night (Hilary has now been here 3 times during our stay!) Jenny wanted to make it downstairs to the dining room for dinner. yesterday she couldn’t really move out of bed for the pain and today, following the switch back to the syringe driver, she has had no additional IV breakthrough pain relief and made it down for dinner with everyone and ate reasonably well – a serious step forward. Arthur & Hilary leave to return home to Chichester, UK tomorrow morning. They will be missed by a lot of people here at the clinic and they are amongst some of the first people we met when we arrived. Arthur is good fun and always the comedian and Hilary is simply adorable and quintessentially “English”. Hilary’s treatment cycle means she now has a 3 month break from the clinic and I sincerely hope we have made it home before they return!
Today was also Valentine’s Day and I managed (with the help of Lisa) to get Jenny another angel to add to the collection, some incense for the room and some hand-made chocolates which she was to have the first one and the remainder were for the rest of the women (and some men) around the clinic, but Lisa doesn’t have dairy / gluten so she could only sniff them – sorry Lisa! Jenny also got a lovely online message from Cathy & Dick.
I understand from Arthur that John & Mary made it home to Sydney without too many problems and she is doing fine. Tomorrow I have my first “skipping lesson” in the afternoon (that should be a hoot) and Monica from Canada returns to the clinic. It continues to snow on and off here in Bad Salzhausen and the village continues to be quite beautiful. On my way to Cafe IRA this afternoon I took some photographs which I’ll leave you with…